Secrecy, Antisemitism, and the Dangers of Jewishness

Janet Liebman Jacobs

in Hidden Heritage

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780520233461
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936614 | DOI:
Secrecy, Antisemitism, and the Dangers of Jewishness

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This chapter focuses on the persisting fears of antisemitism and culture of secrecy among crypto-Jewish Latinas/os in modern society. The most intriguing aspect of modern crypto-Judaism is the survival of a culture of secrecy that is evident in the patterns of silence and disclosure which characterize twentieth-century families with crypto-Jewish ancestors. The persistence of secrecy among modern crypto-Jewish descendants illustrates the sociopsychological impact of historical oppression on individuals whose fears of antisemitism continued to re-create a culture of secrecy and concealment among families who bear traces of Jewish ancestry. Despite the secrecy and tensions that surround awareness and disclosure of Jewish ancestry, a growing number of descendants are seeking to verify the reality of their family's hidden Jewish past. For these individuals, deathbed revelations hold great significance, since such disclosures encourage the reclamation and transmission of a lost cultural heritage.

Keywords: antisemitism; crypto-Judaism; cultural heritage; ancestry; Jews

Chapter.  9132 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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